Tag Archives: Webcomics

Interview with ZOMBIE RANCH creators Clint & Dawn Wolf!

27 Mar

by Mike Hansen

2010-04-06-issue2-version2The zombie genre has exploded in the last few years thanks to the success of The Walking Dead and hit movies like 28 Days Later and the Dawn Of The Dead remake, but the concept as envisioned by creator/director George A. Romero has had plenty of bad stories and ripoffs and surprisingly few stories that stretch the concept into new directions (such as Max Brooks’s fantastic Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z).

ZOMBIE RANCH is a terrific, long-running serialized webcomic from creators Clint & Dawn Wolf that places the modern zombie in an entirely new venue: the American desert of the future, with Big Brother-like “reality show” floating cameras recording the story’s events. Following in the classic Romero tradition of focusing on the survivors (not the monsters) and commenting on modern society, what sets Zombie Ranch apart is that its story starts long after a zombie apocalypse has ended. The mark of a good story is having it start as late as possible, and this ballsy approach has paid off: After its launch in September 2009, ZR has found a dedicated following, thanks to its clear and entertaining storytelling, a deceptively simple “animation cel”-style of artwork, regular updates, and frequent west-coast convention appearances. Over the last few months, I exchanged an email Q&A with the Wolfs. Enjoy (and as always, CLICK to make the artwork bigger):

2009-11-04-06_donthurtthemmuchWhat made you want to do a webcomic?

DAWN: I’d been doing an occasional webcomic strip called Bits of Nothing for years, but I always wanted to draw an actual story comic. I had a lot of false starts with other writers, including a comic that almost went to print but got rejected. Clint and I had been married for a long time but he’d never really tried to write anything for me, but then I drew that picture and it really fired him up. It was shortly after I’d been taking some web design and comic design classes, too, so I thought it would be neat to go with the web.

CLINT: Webcomics are the ultimate self-starter scenario. If you’ve got a story to tell and the passion and patience to see it through, it’s an unequaled way to connect with the widest possible audience at the lowest possible cost. Also, you don’t need to impress anyone with a resume, just with your output.

2009-12-09-pg11_nothinbutmeatHow did you come up with Zombie Ranch?

CLINT: Dawn drew a crazy picture at 3 A.M., and the rest is history. It might not have gone anywhere had she answered me that her shotgun-totin’ cowgirl was a zombie hunter rather than a zombie “rancher,” but once that happened, the idea ate into my brain as surely as if a hungry ghoul had gotten hold of me. I’d say another big piece of the concept came from the modern trend of dangerous-job reality shows such as “Deadliest Catch,” to the point I already mentioned it in the comic itself. The gal wearing a belly shirt started me thinking of setting it in the future instead of the past, and in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse that had come and gone. You just didn’t see too many stories exploring how things might be ten or twenty years down the road, when all the running and screaming was over.

2010-01-06-13_firstimpressionsI don’t know how much where we live influenced the theme so much as the fact that the concept started with Cowgirl-Ranch-Zombies, and two of those three concepts are pretty solidly “Western.” It doesn’t hurt that Dawn grew up on a farm out in the desert, so she has insights on how things might go from day to day.

DAWN: Some of the pieces I draw that get the biggest responses are the ones I do in the wee hours of the night after Clint’s gone to bed and I’m left alone with my weird ideas. I wanted to do something different than the usual “zombie-hunting” art and decided she would be a rancher. Clint thought that was a really neat idea, and then we ended up selling the original at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con Art Show for the most I’ve ever sold a piece, and there was a bid war. So we figured we might be onto something.

2009-09-25-onthezombieranchSo how do you explain Zombie Ranch to someone who’s never read it or heard of it before?

CLINT: The simplest answer would be “Cowboys & Zombies”, but we’re not the first to come up with that idea. Plus that falls pretty short of communicating the details I think make our story unique. Usually I’ll start by telling people that this is set many years after the apocalypse has come and gone, and people survived and adapted and rebuilt, and not only that, discovered a way to profit off the new reality of the walking dead. Then I tell them that Zombie Ranch is about the daily lives of the men & women who wrangle those undead for a living.

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Awesome comics site TheOatmeal gets sued by website accused of stealing its content. (Yes, you read that right.)

11 Jun

by Mike Hansen

The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is effed up on so many levels.

Matthew Inman, the creator of the terrific webcomic site, TheOatmeal.com, accused another site called FunnyJunk of allowing his comics to be reposted on its monetized site – In other words, FunnyJunk is making money off Inman without permission.

Now, I get sharing funny pictures online – everybody does it – but the big difference here appears to be that FunnyJunk has hundreds of The Oatmeal comics copied on its site, which makes money off others’ content. Inman complained about it in a blog post last year. Now FunnyJunk’s lawyer is threatening him with a federal lawsuit unless he coughs up $20,000. BuWhat?

Now Inman has posted the full attorney’s letter, with his hilarious response – he’s going to raise that 20 large, but not to give to FunnyJunk: he’s giving it to charity and rubbing his internet love in FunnyJunk’s face. Or, as he puts it,

Instead of mailing the owner of FunnyJunk the money, I’m going to send the above drawing of his mother.  I’m going to try and raise $20,000 and instead send it to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

In my opinion, what FunnyJunk is doing is despicable. I think this is worth sharing with as many people as possible.

Since this is in the process of blowing up on the internet, The Oatmeal is loading pretty slowly right now. Either that, or the forces of evil are launching a DNS attack on it. But it’s well worth checking out. In the meantime, here’s The Oatmeal’s Wikipedia page.

Here’s a site that does it right: the newly launched Comic Rocket, which doesn’t scrape content from other sites, and from which every view counts as the original site’s traffic. That’s how it’s done, son.

JUSTICE!

I Read HARK! A VAGRANT

20 Oct

by Mike Hansen

…and it is GLORIOUS.

Check out creator Kate Beaton’s website here, and buy her two book collections (Hark! A Vagrant and Never Learn Anything from History) here.

In just a handful of years, Beaton has gone from an obscure webcartoonist to one of the best and funniest cartoonists in the English language (including Canadian, which she is). Her strips mocking history and literature (and occasionally superheroes, her childhood, and other stuff) are like a Monty Python-ish blast of Awesome into the comics world. No wonder she had some of the longest lines at APE: she really is That Good.

But don’t take my word for it – here are a few of my favorite H.A.V. strips! (CLICK TO MAKE BIGGER)

HAV North Pole

HAV Messin Continue reading

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